Arthur's Perfect Christmas

( 1 )

Overview

While at first Arthur thought it was going to be a perfect Christmas, he's not so sure anymore. It hasn't snowed, the tree is decorated with trolls and unicorns, Dad decides to make an authentic "ancient" Christmas dinner, and Arthur accidentally breaks his gift for Mom. While Francine happily celebrates Hanukkah, Brian prepares for Kwanzaa, and Buster tries to find a holiday of his own, Arthur starts to think he'll have a terrible Christmas?until an unexpected guest changes ...

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Overview

While at first Arthur thought it was going to be a perfect Christmas, he's not so sure anymore. It hasn't snowed, the tree is decorated with trolls and unicorns, Dad decides to make an authentic "ancient" Christmas dinner, and Arthur accidentally breaks his gift for Mom. While Francine happily celebrates Hanukkah, Brian prepares for Kwanzaa, and Buster tries to find a holiday of his own, Arthur starts to think he'll have a terrible Christmas—until an unexpected guest changes everything. Full-color illustrations.

Even without snow, turkey dinner and a perfect tree, Arthur and his family and friends have a wonderful Christmas--and Hanukkah--celebration.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Arthur imagines how perfect Christmas will be this year, with turkey dinner and a beautiful tree. His dream Christmas vanishes when his dad tells him the dinner menu and sister D.W. works on the tree. His friends don't have a perfect holiday either—Muffy is angry with Francine since she missed Muffy's Christmas party in order to celebrate Hanukkah with her family, and Buster's mom nearly ruins Christmas trying to overcompensate since she and Buster's dad are divorced. All ends well, of course. The story is a little forced, trying to work in Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa, but Arthur fans will enjoy it nonetheless. 2000, Little Brown, Ages 4 to 8, $15.95. Reviewer: Dr. Judy Rowen
Kirkus Reviews
Arthur imagines his ideal Christmas to include snow, the perfect tree, and his favorite food, but soon realizes that life isn't always what you'd expect. At first this discovery discourages him, but he soon learns to put his expectations aside and has a great Christmas. Once again Brown, well known for his popular Arthur Adventure book series and Emmy Award—winning PBS television series, employs the usual cast of characters to address a common situation. Family and peer dynamics are explored in a warm-hearted, amusing way to educate young readers. In the beginning, Arthur is sure this Christmas will be disastrous. Instead of a turkey dinner, Dad is preparing a Middle Eastern meal that might have been served during the time Jesus was in Bethlehem. Arthur is sure he'll hate it but ends up loving it. His image of a normal Christmas tree evaporates when D.W. decorates it with her trolls and unicorns. Worst of all, there's no snow. As in most Marc Brown books, everyone learns a lesson. Arthur's sister is consumed by the primary present she wants but finally recognizes that Santa knows best. Francine celebrates Chanukah with Muffy, who now appreciates having a friend as the best gift of all. Buster teaches his mom that the holidays are about being with loved ones, and Uncle Fred helps Arthur experience the true joy of giving and sharing. "Christmas is more than presents," he wisely advises. It snows after all and Arthur declares, "This is the perfect Christmas!" (Picture book. 4-8)Brown, Margaret Wise A CHILD IS BORN Illus. by Floyd Cooper Jump at the Sun/Hyperion (32 pp.) Oct. 2000
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316119689
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
  • Publication date: 10/1/2000
  • Series: Arthur Adventures Series
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Pages: 48
  • Sales rank: 793,319
  • Age range: 3 - 7 Years
  • Lexile: 160L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 8.00 (w) x 10.25 (h) x 0.25 (d)

Meet the Author

Marc Brown

Marc Brown is the creator of the bestselling Arthur Adventure book series and creative producer of the number-one children's PBS television series, Arthur. He has also illustrated many other books for children, including Ten Tiny Toes and If All the Animals Came Inside. Marc lives with his family in Tisbury, Martha's Vineyard.

Biography

Marc Brown recalls a phone call he received late one night at his home in Hingham, Massachustts, just outside of Boston. On the other end of the line, a small, obviously young voice asked, "Is Arthur there?"

"I told him that Arthur had already gone to bed," Brown recalled for the Los Angeles Times in 1996. "And so should he."

That such phone call is not an isolated occurrence at the Brown household is testament to the popularity -- and approachability -- of Brown's creation. Arthur is not simply the world's most famous bespectacled aardvark, he is also a kid just like any other, grappling with same issues his readers are: annoying sisters, terrifying teachers, and babysitting nightmares. Arthur may be a drawing, but to his fans, he seems quite real.

"I feel like I'm listening to my own kids," Carol Greenwald, who produces the companion television program for PBS, told People in 1997. "I have to bite back the urge to say, 'Stop bickering.'"

By now, the Arthur series has produced more than 10 million books as well as a hit television show for PBS and made his creator a wealthy man. But the early days were a different story. Separated from his wife, living with his mother-in-law and recently released from his job as a college professor, Brown came home in the mid-1970s to a request from his 4-year-old son, Tolon:

Tell me a story.

And make it about a weird animal.

So, as Brown reached into the possibilities of uncommon zoology for his son's nocturnal enjoyment, he also concocted the beginnings of a career. He took his new creation to a friend at Atlantic Monthly Press who gave him guidance, and he landed a publishing deal for the first book in what would become a series: Arthur's Nose. And the big money started rolling in. His first check was somewhere around $70 to $80. (The number seems to vary with the telling.)

"I was imagining buying a new car, and instead I got groceries," he told the Sun-Sentinel in South Florida. "It was about five years before I felt like I could make a living doing this."

Brown had long dreamed of illustrating children's books, inspired in high school by Maurice Sendak's classic Where the Wild Things Are. As a student at the Cleveland Institute of Art, he says he found that such pursuits were considered too pedestrian for the serious artistic mind: He has said his decision to include his illustrations in his submission for the institute's drawing award cost him the prize.

After Cleveland, he worked as a cook and a delivery truck driver who kept getting lost. He also farmed chickens. He found freelance work as a professional illustrator in the textbook field and even worked on an Isaac Asimov book for his first non-textbook assignment.

Arthur, though, eventually opened all the right doors. And, aside from that series, Brown has also illustrated books for other children's authors and drawn on his own life for books outside the Arthur titles. The end of his first marriage eventually yielded a children's book, Dinosaur's Divorce: A Guide for Changing Families.

"When I went through a divorce..., I went to the library hoping to find books to help my two young sons through the experience," he is quoted in Contemporary Authors as saying. "I found little information, and what there was very sexist, depicting children living with the mother and the father living in a depressing residential hotel. Our experience was different: my sons lived with me. I started keeping a file for a book I had in mind to write one day."

Brown makes no secret of his habit of mining his own life for his children's fiction. The Arthur books, in fact, are something of a family album: Arthur's sister D. W. is a composite of his own sisters, Arthur's adventures in babysitting were inspired by his own experience watching over two children who tied him to a chair and scampered off to find hiding places in their enormous house. Grandma Thora doesn't even have a different name from his own grandmother, who used to save all of his childhood drawings and later encouraged him to go to art school.

And when Brown and his second wife had another child, Eliza, he decided he shouldn't be the only one saddled with the less enjoyable aspects of child care. He gave Arthur a baby sister, Kate.

"I though if I had to change diapers," he told the Christian Science Monitor in 1997, "so should Arthur."

Good To Know

Brown changed his first name from Mark to Marc because he was so enthralled with the work of painter Marc Chagall.

He told People magazine in 1997 that Arthur is the spitting image of his third-grade class picture.

Brown dresses up as Arthur on Halloween, which makes his house a must-stop for the children of Hingham, Massachusetts.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Marc Tolan Brown
    2. Hometown:
      Hingham, Massachusetts and Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts
    1. Date of Birth:
      November 25, 1946
    2. Place of Birth:
      Erie, Pennsylvania
    1. Education:
      M.F.A., Cleveland Institute of Art, 1969

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